It’s Tomorrow.  I haven’t forgotten my promise to enthrall us all with sage strategies for staying sane in Realty’s Alternate Reality.

Wait—I don’t remember actually promising anything besides breath-takingness.   I’m thinking, at this late hour, that it would be easier to just post a really pretty picture of a mountain, and call it good.

But I won’t.  I actually have a list for prospective home sellers.  It is a Brace Yourself list…. “What to Expect When You’re Selling.”  Full of realism and pith, it could still take your breath away, especially if you hold it.  Which I do sometimes…breathlessness has its advantages, as Marilyn Monroe so fetchingly illustrates.

breathless monroe

Here’s my bracing list.  It isn’t comprehensive, by the way.  It just includes the elements that have been the most traumatic and scarring for me personally.

A) There Will Probably Be Strangers In Your Home.

They will not come bearing hostess gifts or potluck dishes.  These strangers (statistics bear this out) will be astonishingly more comfortable in your home if you aren’t present…as a matter of fact, most would prefer that you aren’t even on the same block while they open your closets and scrutinize your bathrooms.  Not even if you’re parked circumspectly a few houses down, pretending nonchalance.

2) Strangers May Have Opinions About Your Home. Like Your Appalling Lack of a Basement.

What?  I thought basements were a dark, dank liability.  But let’s not get too personal here.

A good strategy, by the way.  Not getting personal.  Any evidence of your unique personality in your home might be seen as an encumbrance…not just a figurative mote, but a veritable beam in a potential buyer’s vision of your home as their own.  (Note: You remember that if you’re selling your home, you need to be at least marginally ok with someone else making it their own?).  You should probably remove pictures of your children being silly and loveable or your grandparents kissing.

stealing sugar

Think of it as mote and beam renovation.  And while this may make you feel displaced and lonely, you STILL shouldn’t hang around your house during showings in hopes of catching a glimpse of the potential buyers (aka strangers)..  Go to the library, and remember your library card so you can actually check out books after languishing there for an hour and a half.  Pretend you don’t know strangers are opening closets and scrutinizing bathrooms in your home while you rummage desperately through your purse for the library card that ultimately, you did forget at home in your rush to evacuate.

C)  Strangers Will Open Closets and Scrutinize Bathrooms in Your Home.  In Case You Missed That Earlier.  I’m Not Even Kidding.

This is a scary thought, one that can lead to obsessive compulsiveness (and redundancy) in the seller.  Housekeeping tics involving bleach, vinegar, dental tools, and chimp-like sorting and picking.  Tics which  aren’t really necessary to the sale of a home (I’ve been told, and struggle fruitlessly to believe).  But here’s a comforting thought for all sellers:  Strangers probably won’t look in your dryer.  Most likely.  I’m hoping a study is published to confirm this soon.  Meanwhile, I have hidden all kinds of liabilities and eyesores in my dryer, stopping just short of concealing the snow shovel in it (a visiting friend advised against it).  I still think it might have fit.  It had a short handle.

cleaning the bathroom with vinegar

4) There Might Not Be Strangers In Your Home.

Which could be even worse than A, B, and C combined.  Because you don’t know until the day ends that no potential buyers will be showing up to scrutinize closets and bathrooms.  So you’ll still be going to insane lengths, trying to make your home irreproachably buyable.  Scrubbing shower doors with vinegar (to the consternation and disgust of your teenage son).

looking bemusedly skeptical

Picking and sorting lint and dust specks and small children like a chimp (we actually shaved our couch…no joke).  Making and re-making beds with hospital corners even though you have no idea what hospital corners are,  and forbidding beloved family and friends to eat, for fear of crumbs in the kitchen.

birthday cakecake crumbs in the kitchen

And the day ends; your family looks hollow-eyed, hen pecked, and hungry; your hands look like you’ve contracted leprosy, and no one—not even you—has enjoyed your beautiful, sparkling home that day.   You seriously wonder if house selling is soul selling in disguise.

E) A Stranger Might Offer to Buy Your Home

While this is what you’ve been working for, the reality of parting with your home (whether scoured and sparkling, or littered with relaxed crumbs) may be overwhelming, even sad.  After all.

Also, an offer is just a beginning to a whole new dimension of Realty’s Alternate Reality.  You’re not done yet.  Not even.

And I’m out of words again.  For now.  Stay tuned for thoughts on realtors.


realty reality

So if you’ve read along for just a little while here, or better yet,  if you’re a neighbor or local realtor, you’re probably at least liminally aware  that we’ve got a For Sale sign in our parking strip (turns out, that’s what it’s called, that odd little bit of land between the sidewalk and the street that confuses everyone from landscapers to skateboarders.  Lauren Springer Ogden aptly calls it a hell strip.  But I digress).  With simple Sherlockian deductions, you might easily conclude that we (the family that lives in the house whose yard bears the for sale sign) are selling our home.

Well, yeah! We’re trying, anyway.

Want to Play The Realty Game? (Or Should We Say…The Alternate Reality Game?)

This little reality, its shadow cast by the realty sign in our front hell strip, may seem inconsequential and benign.  We might even look like just another four bedroom two and a half bath statistic.  Harmless and boring.  But.  I beg to differ.  I feel morally compelled to differ.  Notice the wanky tilt of our realty sign.  It portends…something.  Implies tremors.  I assert that in entering the world of realty, we became players in a suburban Cautionary Tale.  Cautioning against what I’m not entirely sure.  But our realty escapade has been so Epic, I’m sure there’s Meaning in it.  A Moral at least.

midsummer night's dream dress

For this reason, I have decided to Raise A Warning Voice.  It doesn’t matter so much what I warn against…the important thing is just to, you know, Raise the Voice.  Right here on my blog.  Which blog is read fairly consistently by at least a half dozen people (including my mother….thank you, dearly beloveds).  And though none of us around here (barring, perhaps, Sara Urry) are Mavens, I feel certain somehow that my words, however I direct them, could have a powerful, rippling Effect.  I’m beginning to think Raising the Voice may be my Reason For Existence.

Go Ahead, Darling.  Sell.  But “Fasten Your Seat Belt; it’s Going To Be a Bumpy Night”.

(Bette Davis, “All About Eve”).  Just to be clear, my Warning Voice/Cautionary Tale is not raised against Selling Houses, nor even realty in general.  Not necessarily.  I still (after all) think selling houses might be an ok idea.  Indeed, if you think you’re up for a slapstick circus that will rival anything Tim Burton  could dream up, go ahead and put a for sale sign in front of your house.  In your hell strip.  With my blessings,  and with my respect.  But be cautioned.  If your hands tremble at the thought of earthquakes, black holes, nuclear meltdowns, riots, coups, croup, or hair in your soup, perhaps you should think twice about selling your home.

You need to be up for it, is what I’m saying.  Up for the realty game and its alternate realities. Up for the confidence quashing trek through staging, showing, feedback (!), offers, counter offers, contracts, addendums, inspections, appraisals, upheavals, withdrawals, more addendums.  Painter’s tape, sawdust, a lone dog hair drifting delicately at the bottom of a clean stove.  The barrage of realtors alone could make a nice woman crazy.  As shown by Meryl Streep (Aunt Josephine) in A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Jude Law narrates (as he should, always):

Fear of Realtors–Rational or Not?

Watch this video on YouTube.

Take a look in the glass, before you walk through it into Realty Land.  Make sure your rose colored specs have a tight grip and bifocal lenses.  Take stock of your id and your ego, and be absolutely certain your Freudian slip isn’t showing.  Be as tight a ship as you can manage.

Dolly in Wonderland

(Aside: If you’re a buyer,  HGTV’s programming offers contemporary coaching through your unique circumstances.  You will find all sorts of cautionary tales there, though most of them have suspiciously happy endings.  Also marriage counseling might be a good idea for buyers [it is absolutely necessary for sellers].  Sometimes counseling mitigates complications caused by the whole Adam’s Rib disconnect thing.  Venus vs. Mars.  But I digress again).

More Later, Dearly Beloveds…

I’m out of words.  Literally.  I’ve spent well over 500 of….yikes, 600! already, and am even now running the risk of losing your interest if I use more in this post.  I’m feeling a little shaky about risk taking at the moment.  So I’ll  continue with my Extraordinary Cautionary Tale tomorrow, new post.  Bracing for Realty’s Alternate Reality.  Or some other clever title.  But I promise (in my bloggerly way) it will be breath taking

dubious; cold & flu homely remedies

Another Tribute To My Man, In The Cold Dark Month of February…


Yesterday was my husband’s birthday.

He rolled out of bed while it was still dark, showered, put on a flannel shirt I’d ironed for him (a rare occasion, me ironing), ran kids to the bus, fried himself a quick couple of eggs, and drove to the train. Which he has learned to regard with strict respect; last month another commuter at Frank’s stop (deafened by earbuds and unfamiliar with the train’s routine) crossed the tracks a little late and was hit…or rather, battered and thrown by the train. But that’s another story, a sad one. Still it seems relevant. It nuances the fact that my man leaves for work in the dark. That he returns home in the dark after a day’s work. And that between the leaving and the returning, there’s the train…implacable and occasionally deadly. Endless tons of hurtling iron.

We choked on celebrating his birthday. It was the middle of the week; the kids had piano lessons and homework and church activities, and I was gripped by a gasping, wracking cough and a disgusting runny nose. I spent the day in my pj’s clutching Kleenexes (when I drove the kids places, I pretended no one could see me). No hot mama for my man to come home to on his natal day. And since Frank is eyeing carbs with antagonism lately, it would have been unkind to bake a cake for him even if I could manage it. We’re saving the cake experience for the weekend. Which I’ve moved up to tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll dress up, the kids and I will sing, and we’ll go out. Tomorrow we’ll grill the lean-fatted calf and throw confetti.

Frank in a Tuke

We do this too often though…defer a celebration for the sake of convenience. I’ve promised and promised myself that one day, even if it’s a cold, dark, February Wednesday….one day, Frank will wake up to a sparkling Hoorah! Hooray! Hello! Happy Birthday! Affection typified by joyous party ephemera. What kind of ephemera I’m not sure of yet. I don’t think confetti would impress him. He doesn’t appreciate chaos. He’d smile at balloons, but then they’d probably get in his way and feel all awkward and unattractive at his feet.

Maybe I’ll jump out of a cake in something nefariously skimpy. I’m pretty sure Frank prefers my legs to balloons…unless my legs BECOME balloons because my wracking cough has turned into something archaic and awful like consumption and I’m bedridden for a year.

I See You...Frank in a White Shirt

Meanwhile, Happy Birthday Beau. I was going to make a dress to wow you in and tomorrow’s cake and also something amazing and carb-less for dinner, but I wrote this blog post for you instead.  I’ve loved you all your life, even though we’ve only known each other for a smidge over half of it (we can thank your parents for all those pictures and stories of your past, babe…including the baby oiled teenager posing for the body building competition in a Speedo). I’ll take it all, from the moment you came til long long after you’re gone.

Laugh out Loud

Hello?  Hello?  Anyone Home?

hello there

My daughter (Maurya)  told me today that in the very near future, the inconstancy of bloggers will seem so constant as to become a cliche.  She is hoping to post on her own blog about it.  Sometime.  She’s not sure when.  But she’s not announcing this  publicly; she’s wise enough to  avoid the potentially ironic position of breaking a blogging promise herself.

I laughed, wryly.  Since I chronically lack the foresight and restraint that my daughter (less than half my age) so wisely practices.  With just  a little more than three hours left of this week, it looks like posting my promised house tour before week’s end is on the nether side of impossible.   What was I thinking?  I don’t even have time to ruminate before my deadline.  Or write my excuses (which is tempting, because  honestly, I documented them particularly well today,…from a perilously teetering cake  to a bow tie crisis, and beyond).

But I can at least show you the foyer.  And, while I’m at it, the living room (they are intimately connected, as Jane Austen would say… and yes,  I’m unabashedly reaching back to Jane for….uh…something.  Social proof?  Snob appeal turned on its ear?  I don’t have time to explore this.  Jane is just good company, let’s leave it at that.)

Bon Jour, Y’all

Bon Jour Y'all Foyer

Somewhere (maybe on Oprah?) once upon a time, I caught glimpses of a breathtakingly beautiful home, decorated and lived in by a lovely woman whose wondrous Southern accent fascinated me.  I think her home was in New Orleans.  Beyond the fact that it was all beautiful and  very classy, I don’t remember details anymore.  But I do remember a notion.  I remember that the woman wanted her entry hall to say (metaphorically of course), “Bon Jour, Y’all” .  I loved that.   The concept of welcome in design. And I decided I wanted my welcome to be warm, inclusive, beautiful, gracious. I wanted loveliness without pretention.  This concept was on my mind when I designed our current home… particularly the foyer.  Which is where we welcome people to our home, or where we find welcome ourselves. I feel outlandishly lucky.

As I think about designing a smaller home with a more conservative budget, I am totally comfortable with the idea of a much more diminutive entry.  I believe I can relinquish quite a bit of space without compromising the  sense of arrival and welcome.  I’m intrigued by the challenge.

Yo, Darlings.  It’s Gonna Be a Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day

DSC_9343round windowshoes in the foyer

Of all design elements, I think light may be the most important to me.  If I had to choose.  Which I rather wouldn’t, because really, I want it all, at least snippets of it—Light, space, form, function.  Anyway.  Light.   A light, airy  place feels both welcoming and beautiful to me.  Particularly if it’s natural light.   Which means windows.

In the foyer, I tried to make the doors as window-like as I could.   Transoms over the doors, privacy glass in the doors, and especially (the icing on the cake and one of my favorite parts of the house) the round window way up high.  The living room’s shares sunlight from tall south and east windows with the foyer. Light reflects off of white trim (inexpensive mdf,, painted by yours truly) and a solid oak floor (not trendy when we bought it; therefore, less expensive. But it has the classic vibe I wanted.  We installed it ourselves, saving even more).

It’s Got Soul, Babe

I decorate with my own art and found/rescued treasures partly because I can afford it, and partly because I crave meaningfulness. Homemade, passed down, rescued stuff has a history, a past. It offers connection, a sense of inclusion in something larger than myself.  And I love the stories (the fire bitten second hand baby grand deserves an entire post of its own). I paint things I love, often wistfully. Paintings are displayed in frames I’ve either thrifted and refurbished, or Frank has built for me. We (the girls and I) covered pots and jars in a mosaic of broken dishes (this is how I comfort myself when something pretty breaks…use bits of it in mosaics) and agates and seashells that our family collected at the Oregon coast, our favorite vacation spot. The pew is a splurge Frank bought on a whim to surprise me when the kids were little and owning it seemed as far fetched and luxurious as an exotic vacation. We rescued the old desk during those same happy, lean years, refinishing it together.  When it was set in place, we sat on the floor in front of it and just looked at it.  How pretty it was.   How the wood seemed to glow.  The sewing machine cabinet was my Grandma’s. She and I actually sewed a dress together with it; a dress I never finished, pinning it shut in the back until my mother kidnapped it and threw it away.


decorate with local artdecor: let there be lightliving room decorvintage sewing cabinet closeuppew used in home decor, detail

Welcome home, dearly beloveds.

"Have You Ever" art

Painting Winter: “Have You Ever?”

I casually  (vaguely?)  mentioned this painting a couple-three months ago.   And let it drop.    The subject slumbered silently (probably forgotten (by everyone but me).  I wasn’t feigning indifference.  I wasn’t hoping my mysterious nonchalance might pique interest (truly; I’m always at a loss as to what to do when piqued interest actually materializes…). No, no.  No, my enigmatic tone was a cover for sheer frustration; I’d neglected to take a good picture of the painting before I sent it off to my friend Elaine’s boutique. I had no actual proof of the painting to post on my blog.

I have decent pictures now, having remembered to take a good camera with me on my most recent visit to the boutique (I also took my dear friend Stephanie with me, but that story will have to wait for another post, and so will a better picture of Elaine, who eludes a good shot like a phantom myth…let’s just call her “Nessie”).

at the gillded branch, the mysterious Elaine
(Elaine, Holladay’s Loveliest Urban Legend)
The Gilded Branch, with a friend
Steph, Perusing with Amazing Hair

Let me tell you about the painting, dearly beloveds.

Have You Ever heard Brandi Carlisle’s “Have You Ever”? If I could make my painting sing it, I would.  This song was on my mind as I painted, late last winter. Expressing in notes and lyrics  my own experience, how euphoric and revelatory aloneness can be sometimes.

"Have You Ever" detail, bird

However. Though I love the song, the painting was at first a disappointment to me. Not euphoric at all. I liked the texture of the ground I was experimenting with (tissue paper wrinkled and glued onto board with gesso, painted over with oil)…but. Thinking back, I cannot quite articulate what I didn’t like about the painting… it probably had something to do with my fear that it wasn’t “real” art (I keep doing that). Unable to throw it out entirely, I turned it to the wall (this actually happens a lot). Eventually I primed the back of the painting and even sketched on it with charcoal, intending to conduct another experiment on the back. But I was thinking about the front painting again, feeling wistful, kind of liking it. I invited it to audition itself one last time, letting it sing silently (face outward) in my studio. Intrigued by the possibilities that a slightly altered composition promised, I cropped it, put it in a refurbished thrifted frame, and fell in love. I don’t know if that’s wise. A fellow artist once warned me about letting a painting become precious to me. I get that. I’ll work on being more detached with future paintings. I think.

painting of a girl and a bird
at The Gilded Branch

PS: Radical subject change: I’m finally ready to share pictures of our home here, this week. We’ve taken many; I’ll pick through and find the best (of course). Maybe one or two of the worst (like Ezra’s chewing gum stuck to Meisha’s bed post?). At any rate, I’ll share. Soon. This week.

Raising the Bar, Breaking the Bench


considered on a bench in winter

Breaking the Bench?  What?

I’ve been thinking about blogging lately. Thinking, but not doing.

Aside:  Blogging is a very modern word….and honestly, it sounds weird.  Nonsensical, Dr. Seuss-ish (or Dr. Who-ish) .  I wonder about its longevity, wonder if it might be even more transient  than “caboose”.  My children didn’t know “caboose” til we explained it to them, and as we did, I watched their eyes become distant and uncomprehending, and I felt myself once again regarded as a relic for knowing the word.  These same children, a few years younger, were actually surprised that peanut butter existed before I did, and once, one of my very young ones innocently asked me that great childhood cliche’:  Were dinosaurs alive when I was little?  Well of course, I told her. They still are, even now.  Behold the Rooster, aka Tyrannosaurus UnRex.  And  he likes peanut butter too.

Anyway, thinking about blogging, and how recently I haven’t, and feeling sort of distressed by that, but coming up totally blank when I considered actually writing something,  I reviewed my reasons for blogging (how New Yearly of me).  My ambitions and fantasies, and how they were still just that…ambitions and fantasies.  The realities of blogging have surprised me, often in pleasant ways…but in the end, as I reflected, I realized that I was no closer…not at all…to obtaining my more glamorous blogging dreams this year than I was last year.  Perhaps I’d even lost ground.  And thinking of anything to write seemed impossible, though I had promised to share much in the recent past.

can we both sit here?

Such as a story about (and photos of!) a painting that isn’t yet in my website gallery, but is instead hanging in my friend’s boutique, with a handful of other paintings (also mine) which aren’t selling either.  While in every other respect, my friend’s boutique is a smashing hit.

Such as a running commentary on the adventures of getting a house ready for sale.  There wasn’t much to say, and so far, I haven’t had the time to say it.  Our house is five years new, built under our supervision and sometimes even by us. No need for renovation. We didn’t knock down walls or reinvent kitchen design. I just painted.  And painted.  And painted.  And then I dejunked, and cleaned (am still cleaning…endlessly cleaning).   My hands got chapped.  I noticed  more wrinkles on my face and less hair on my head.  And after all that, we’ve only shown the house once so far.  In between snow storms.  To people who said, Lovely home, but we’d rather the great room was greater. Well, at least the fireplace smokes mostly up the chimney.

Such as….well, I can’t specifically remember other promises I made publicly here, though I’m haunted by the promises I privately made to myself.

can I sit here?together on a bench

Good news, though…the musing led to a little epiphany.  I realized that I can relinquish the fantasies and ambitions. Or maybe…alter them without guilt.   Instead of being driven by the fatuous daydream that somehow—miraculously—my sporadic art/design/writing/random green smoothie recipe will be “discovered” and deemed incalculably valuable by the masses (or at least Oprah? this, by the way, is why I used to sing in the shower…I superstitiously believed in impossible discoveries), instead, I can be motivated—no,  empowered—by my more intrinsic delight in creating.  Whatever.  Houses, clothes, paintings, words.

an acorn?  No...a kisswinter kiss on a bench

I hope I remember this.  To disregard the  seductive shower siren’s song and listen instead to Truth Inherent’s resonating chords. I would write that on a 3X5 and put it on my mirror, but I’m paring down on clutter, trying to sell the house.

what lips my lips have kisseddrama on a bench

Meanwhile… I really should elucidate on Breaking The Bench and Raising The Bar.  I admit the relevance to this post is a little shaky…  

On second thought, I’ve decided not to explain after all.  Titles are so hard to come up with.  The expectation that they always make sense seems a little unrealistic to me.  Also, I don’t think photos need to be relevant every time either.  However.  Notice that while the bench sags a great deal, it never quite breaks.

(Note: Frank and I do look happy here. Even though we’re freezing, and awkward—he a little Asperger’s, me a little neurotic. An occasional puzzle piece lost in translation. By and large, we really are happy together…though sometimes we negotiate happiness through astonishing discomfort. Looking back (we’ve been married 24 years), I’m reluctantly…no, profoundly grateful for the uncomfortable moments. They are the price we paid for the sweet ones.)

hello, dolly

(Also Note:  I’m still hoping to keep at least some of those public promises, and even a few private ones.  You will see the painting.  And I will publish a house tour, and  musings about home design, and real estate agents.  Maybe even another green smoothie recipe).

Home For Christmas, Dearly Beloveds, and A Nearly Dead Tangent at Year’s End (Ring Out, Wild Bells)

Christmas handstand

Well, Merry Christmas!  I know it’s late.  Actually, I know it’s pretty much over….But that’s ok.  Really.  In an obscure way, my belated holiday wishes sung in a deserted room might be stylishly edgy, like a minimalist independent movie  shot in a coat factory’s janitorial closet.  There might be meaning here, in my solitary, almost irrelevant words.  Truth.  Hope.  A narrow beacon of light. Possibly.  Probably not though.

And yet, I insist…Merry Christmas!  And I hope you (God Bless You, Every One) were all home for Christmas, in the best, warmest, happiest sense of the phrase.

Home for Christmas

I was home for Christmas.  It was nice.  I liked it.   With all the kids (mostly healthy), and Frank (consistently sweet), and even Mimsy (as long as she was leashed, darn it…at large, she is most untrustworthy)  I felt my heart swell at least one and a half sizes larger.   But if I were to recount my Christmas tale here, which wouldn’t be unreasonable because after all this is supposed to be a lifestyle blog, it would be long and might sometimes sound whiny.   And there would probably be tangents.  Like this one (you can skip the next paragraph, if you hate tangents.  But then, you’ve probably long since stopped reading my blog if you hate tangents, so…read on, dearly beloveds):

peering out of doorway

Tangent:  Since flu season coincides with the holiday season, we’ve been watching a lot of silly dramas.  No high brow janitorial closets for us (seven shades of blond zombified to the couch—or in my case, listening from the kitchen).   No.  In our flu-ish state, we’ve fallen prey to the almost clever devices of nearly mainstream screenwriters, and are, even now that most of us are feeling better, particularly intrigued by the theme of Almost (or Nearly) Dead.   Maurya came up with classifications for the varied elements of the Nearly Dead spectrum, and we are thinking of submitting them to some sort of committee.  There’s Mostly Dead as diagnosed by Miracle Max (Princess Bride)—rudimentary and uncomplicated.   I think I might have experienced this once or twice, even though I’m hardly fictitious and not as likely to be motivated by True Love or even Revenge so much as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and/or Daydreaming.   There’s also Rory Dead (of Dr. Who fame),  if you happen to be fictional, invented by a writer with a penchant for unbelievable plot twists, and your name is…well, Rory.   When you’re Rory Dead, you simply don’t stay dead for more than a couple of episodes, even though each of your deaths (there will be many) are at least dramatic, if not altogether tragic.  Exterminated by  a lizard woman with a ray gun?  Obliterated by a crack in the universe?  Melted to nothingness in the wrong time zone during the London Blitz after guarding the Pandorica for endless centuries?   No worries.   You’ll be back,  sans the typical decomposition most of us would expect after our demise—whether it were our first, or our third.   And last, there’s simple, generic TV Dead, a condition also most likely to be experienced by imaginary persons, though America’s Most Wanted would have us believe it is practiced by real mortals with sinister intentions.  TV Dead is really about artful deception.   It is Faked Death (Sherlock), a lie that sooner or later changes its story and insists it was alive all along, hidden in a secret room or across the street or possibly even in a Parisian cafe while tears were shed at the funeral and loved ones spoke sentimental dirges through the gray days afterward.  

dance at the funeral, babe

Before we leave this tangent, I do have relevant pictures:  Maurya and Nora either recuperating from, or actually in the midst of the flu (note Nora’s bowl), or jetlag (note Maurya’s beautiful toes).  And to make it germane to the whole Home for Christmas thing… they were home with me.  I love them.  I relished the sight of their pretty blond heads on the couch and  even on my pillow, probable muss notwithstanding.  And they are feeling better now.

flu seasonjet lag recoverycute toes

And so, no Christmas Tale.  Not really.  Nor will I be posting (this time) lovely pictures of my holiday decorating, telling you in lively and vivacious tones how I made it all look good.  Not because I’m great at exercising restraint (if I were, you can bet I’d be making one of those minimalist janitor closet films), but mostly because I never did completely finish decorating, although….I did  get a few pictures of some scattered nearly-done vignettes…

Nativity scene, foyerChristmas tableThe dog, leashed at Christmastime

In the end, what I loved best, and what I wish to mention here,  is that we were all Home for Christmas.  Together. We even gathered round our second hand baby grand (the one that lived…or did it die?  Mysteriously.  In a house fire sometime during the vague years before we found it on Craig’s list),  singing Christmas hymns til Ez hyperventilated and we all went to bed.  Except for me because I’d procrastinated wrapping.

snuggle on the couch

Happy Holidays!

family photo gallery

Holiday Greetings,  Dearly Beloveds!  If Any Remain (Bon Jour,  Remains of the Day).  Let The Merry Bells Keep Ringing, Both for the Season, and also

Because  I am MOSTLY DONE  Making My House Pretty !!

(Mostly Done, as opposed to Miracle Max’s Mostly Dead— a grievous, less animated, almost-but- not-quite hopeless state).  At last,

I Can With Unabashed and Ebullient Narcissism Show Off My Life’s Work!

(ok, the work I’ve been up to the last couple of months).  Beginning (appropriately) with “The Hall of Days”.

House For Sale, and The Hall of Days

House For Sale By Owner

Perhaps you know (because you’ve read past blog posts here, or because we’re acquainted and you’ve seen paint splatter on my person) that my family and I have been sprucing up our place, getting it ready for sale.  I just have to say, it’s been hard.  And tedious.  And slow.  Lots of painting (exhausted after construction five years ago, we moved in before we had painted the trim or even some of the rooms).  An endless trickle of small repairs and treks to donation centers, a storage unit,  and the dump.   We even put siding on the little backyard barn, and painted it on a rare warm day..  It feels Mostly Good to be taking “finished” pictures and putting a for sale sign up, at last.   Bittersweet.  This home is the third we’ve owned and loved.  The second we’ve designed and built (my design, with my husband’s cheerful support and help with implementation).

building a house, photo gallery

Each home has been more than a shelter…it has been a haven, a refuge, a place where we can be…We.  Us.   Which is probably why I’m feeling a little sad as I post this.   Leaving is part of a good plan.  We’ll build another, make more memories… but there are memories here.  A profound sense of belonging—not only to each other, but to a place.  So I thought I’d begin my little House Reveal (pretty at last) with one of my favorite places in the house.

hall of days, family photos

back hall, decorated with photosdecorate with photos

I call it “The Hall of Days”.  A little wordplay.  Plus it sounds sort of Lorien-ish..  Mystically romantic.  It is the back hall, where you enter from the garage and mudroom to the living spaces beyond, where you find the loo (powder room, or main bathroom, realtors would say), the laundry room, our bedroom.  We all pass through The Hall of Days a lot.   The walls read sort of like a family photo album, with favorite, defining pictures of all of us taken through days past.  Ezra’s first haircut with a real barber.  The kids playing in the ocean, or the mud.  Nora with bedhead on a sunny Saturday morning.  The Hall of Days captures our family’s mood, memories…mission.  I love it.

hall of photos, cape cod housefamily photoshallway of photoshall wall, family photo gallery

Notes on the Hall of Days design:  The colors and mood of this space are inspired by our family’s favorite getaway spot: The Oregon Coast. Beachy white trim (painted mdf, very inexpensive), muted aqua wall color,  and swirly curliques.   Also the eclectic mix of picture frames.   Most of the frames I used in the Hall of Days were thrift finds…usually a dollar or less.  A few were found cheap at Ross or TJ Max.  I sanded some to give them a vintage, driftwoody look.  Some I painted black, some I painted chippy gold.  Some I left alone.  I hung them somewhat evenly, remembering what I’d learned as a high school annual staffer about even internal margins, and then breaking the rules sometimes for balance or convenience.  I love how they all work together.  Next time I do this (and I plan on it), I would add another horizontal line…wainscoting (more painted mdf) about three feet up the wall, before I filled the remaining top completely with pictures.  Our downstairs ceilings are ten feet high, another whim of mine that I hope to repeat in our next house.  In narrow spaces (hallways, bathrooms), high ceilings can make a space feel like an elevator shaft.   Horizontal trim helps the space feel, well, a little more horizontal.   Or at least whimsically eccentric.

hallway decor

About EveryDayBloom
Lynaea EveryDay Bloom is about Life Homemade. It is about Dappled & Imperfect Creative Living. Possibly Ridiculous, Hopefully Inspiring.
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Rebecca with an R
Rebecca with an R
Rebecca with an R
Rebecca with an R
Photo of the day
Garden in Washington State.